Fox’s anthology crime series, ‘Accused’ follows the stories of people charged with a crime. Their story unfolds in flashbacks while their trial takes place in the present. In ‘Esme’s Story,’ we meet a girl who takes the law into her own hands after a white supremacist runs into a crowd of protestors with his car. The consequences of her actions take center stage, asking the audience what they would do if they were in her shoes. The episode mirrors the current situation of the country and feels eerily familiar. The events in the episode might make you wonder if it is inspired by a true story. Here’s what you need to know.
Is Esme’s Story a True Story?
No, ‘Esme’s Story’ is not a true story. However, like every episode of ‘Accused,’ it is inspired by true events. The story begins with Esme and her girlfriend, Aaliyah, witnessing a car driving into a group of protestors. It starts with a rally of white supremacists, who are met by counter-protesters. This scene references the real-life case in Charlottesville that happened on August 12, 2017. A group of white nationalists had gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue and, in response, were met by a group of counter-protesters. An already tense situation worsened when a car drove into the crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring several others.
James Fields Jr., a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who was 20 when the incident happened, was later arrested and sent to prison for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole. The death penalty was taken off the table when Fields pleaded guilty to 29 out of the 20 federal hate crimes he was charged with. However, the same didn’t happen to Kyle Rittenhouse, who was 17 when he fatally shot two protestors and wounded one in Kenosha.
The protest was against the shooting of Jacob Blake, and a video showed Rittenhouse firing at the crowd and then leaving the scene with the police arriving on the scene. He was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, with four other counts. He was acquitted on the basis of his claim that he was acting in self-defense.
Another similar case happened in 2017 in Gainesville. Tyler Tenbrink and William and Cold Fears came to Gainesville, Florida, to attend the speech of Richard Spencer at the Phillips center. An hour after the speech, they were found engaging in an argument with a group of protestors. The situation escalated when a person hit their window with a baton. Allegedly, Trenbink fired at the group, and all three of them fled the scene. They were later charged with attempted homicide, and Trebink also faced possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
In 2015, three men were arrested after the white supremacists fired at the Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis, shooting five African-Americans. The protestors had gathered outside the police precinct to protest the shooting of Jamar Clark. An investigation revealed that the attack was not spontaneous. It was planned by the shooters, who were in touch with each other through the websites that foster the extremist agenda.
All these incidents are just a few examples of the real-life events that seem to have inspired ‘Esme’s story.’ While the creators of the show haven’t confirmed exactly which incident led them to write this episode, the beginning of the story bears a striking resemblance to the Charlottesville case. The episode veers from the real-life incident in the manner of handling the aftermath of the tragic incident at the protest. While in real life, the culprit was found by the police, in the TV show, the culprit evades the law, and Aaliyah decides to find him by infiltrating the white supremacist group.
‘Esme’s Story’ takes a fictional approach to highlight the issues that plague society. It draws upon real-life events but presents its own version, following the possible path of a vigilante and the turn of events that might lead them to ruin several lives, including their own. The episode highlights the dangerous road of revenge while highlighting the racist ideologies that have made the world volatile.
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